August 28, 2008 -- The nonprofit ORBIS International and its global team of volunteer eye care specialists have taken the Flying Eye Hospital to Harbin, China. There, they are conducting an intensive two-week program (through September 5) focused on training and equipping the next generation of Chinese eye care professionals and biomedical engineers. The ORBIS program in Harbin is being sponsored by laser ophthalmic surgical equipment provider Alcon Inc. (NYSE:ACL).
The program will train ophthalmic residency physicians, marking the first time in the Flying Eye Hospital's history that it has been used as a venue for resident training. The ORBIS medical team will transfer skills to approximately 40 ophthalmology residents using hands-on surgical training, live surgical demonstrations, lectures and workshops. The program will concentrate on the treatment and management of pediatric strabismus, glaucoma and cataract. Residents will also benefit from clinics on retinal disease and neuro-ophthalmology and from wet lab and surgical simulator sessions.
"ORBIS' approach is to tailor each of its programs to the educational needs of its hosts and the eye care needs of the local people," said Dr. Hunter Cherwek, medical director, ORBIS International. "This residency- specific program is an exciting new venture that will allow ORBIS to train the next generation of sight-saving doctors and help China further grow its pool of human resources for fighting preventable blindness in the region."
It is estimated that half of the medical equipment located throughout the world does not function properly, and China is no exception. Besides that, few opportunities exist for biomedical engineers and technicians to pursue continuing education in ophthalmic equipment maintenance and repair. To this end, ORBIS and Alcon will provide hands-on training to nine biomedical engineers and technicians in the management and maintenance of ophthalmic equipment, including microscopes.
"Having the knowledge and skill to maintain complex ophthalmic equipment is critical to the delivery of quality eye care, especially in underserved communities throughout the world," said Michael Goh, general manager, Alcon China.